By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The Nigerian Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has accused the South West regional security outfit, Amotekun of intimidating other ethnic groups. MURIC accused the security organization of profiling and intimidating Northerners traveling down south. The group also claimed that Amotekun is engaging in extra-judicial killings of Yoruba people.
This was contained in a press statement issued by the director of the organization, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Thursday, 14th January, 2021.
“Reports reaching us indicate that the South West regional security outfit, Amotekun, has been engaging in extra-judicial killings. Among those killed without proper recourse to law were Akolade Gbadebo, a 400 level student of the University of Ibadan, who was killed on 26th December, 2020. Seven Fulanis were also reported killed at Ayete in Ibarapa North Local Government area of Oyo State on Monday, 11th January, 2021.
“We also have reports that vehicles coming from or going to the North are being stopped by members of the Amotekun corps. They order Hausa-Fulanis to disembark, search them and almost strip them naked.
“MURIC strongly condemns this act of stereotyping of a particular ethnic group. It is not only provocative and counter-productive, but also illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional. It may provoke angry reactions against Yoruba people who also travel to the North as well as those who are currently residing there. Amotekun should not put Yorubas in other places at risk.
“The intimidation of Northern travelers violates the spirit and letter of Section 41 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which says inter alia, ‘Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof…’ The profiling of Northerners at Amotekun roadblocks therefore encroaches upon freedom of movement.
“It should also be noted that the dehumanization of people of other ethnic groups by Amotekun is a denial of the right to the dignity of the human person which is entrenched in Section 34 (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended (2011) which says, ‘Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly…(b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.’
“The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 also says, ‘Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.’
“We believe that Amotekun can be useful in stemming the tide of insecurity in the South West without targeting any particular ethnic group. We remind Amotekun leaders that any threat to the lives and livelihood of other ethnic groups in the South West is an invitation to threat to the lives and livelihood of Yoruba residents and travelers in the North. We therefore call on governors in the region to call Amotekun to order.
“For the avoidance of doubts, we are not opposed to security measures being taken by state governments in the South West but those charged with the task must be properly trained. Professionalism will make Amotekun more effective. Amotekun should therefore deal with all criminals, whether they are Yoruba, Hausa-Fulani or Igbo without considering their tribes.”